LGBTQ Entrepreneurs Find Acceptance in the Cannabis Industry • High Times


When HollyWeed Manufacturing & Extracts Inc. announced a deal to provide extraction services to international cannabis powerhouse Canopy Growth last month, it wasn’t just a victory for British Columbia parent company Hollyweed North Cannabis—it was also an indication of the impact that LGBTQ entrepreneurs are having on the industry. HollyWeed is run by founder and CEO Renee Gagnon, a transgender woman who is a pioneer in the Canadian cannabis industry.

Gagnon was working in IT when the Canadian government announced in a 2012 press release that it was exploring the commercialization of medical marijuana.

“I felt my entire life click into place and said ‘yes, I must do this!’ And I had a business plan on their desk four hours later,” she remembers.

With no program yet in place, Gagnon had perhaps jumped the gun a bit. But she had positioned herself well and the company she founded, Thunderbird Biomedical (later Emerald Health Therapeutics) was one of four firms in the…



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